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Aug. 1, 2016, 11:45 a.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   August 1, 2016

Social media is a visual space: Facebook privileges video (particularly ones that are live or native), a tweet with “rich media” gets more #engagement, and according to some estimates, the Facebook-owned Instagram is now worth between $25 and $50 billion.

So where does audio fit into all of this? For the past few months, WNYC has been trying to find a solution by testing out a tool that turns .mp3 and .wav audio files into movie files. Today, WNYC is making the tool open source. (Link to Github here, and you can also request an invite to the Social Audio Slack channel here.) In addition to converting sound files to movie files fit for platforms like Instagram and Twitter, the Audiogram Generator also allows users to add their captions and choose background images behind a “dynamically generated waveform.” The tool is a work in progress, and the station is hoping to add features like closed captioning in the coming months. Here’s an example of exclusive audio in between seasons of the WNYC comedy show 2 Dope Queens:

And here are several sound bites of people reacting to the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, in one tweet:

The station’s director of social media Delaney Simmons wrote in a Medium post that WNYC has been able to the use the tool to great effect, and that the station is teaming up with other people in the audio industry to test the generator (NPR One, for instance, which has been testing their own social-native audio with accompanying animations):

WNYC shows have been seeing great results. On Twitter, the average engagement for an audiogram is 8x higher than a non-audiogram tweet and on Facebook some of our shows are seeing audiogram reach outperform photos and links by 58% and 83% respectively.

We know there’s still a lot of work to do in the social audio world. Conversations with social platform execs about the work we’re doing are ongoing, and we encourage everyone to have those conversations with their reps as well. WNYC is in communications with a number of other audio companies that are excited to test this product, including NPR.

WNYC has experimented with social audio in other ways as well. Earlier this year it partnered with Anchor, a mobile app that lets users post and reply to others with short audio clips.

A similar social audio app, RollTape was working with BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast, but the app shut down in June.

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